Portreath Beach from West Hill

Portreath is a small resort with a very narrow harbour located about 5 miles north of Redruth. It was once a busy port, importing coal and exporting copper but now only sheltering the occasional fishing boat. The original loading ramp can still be seen in the village. Copper ore was transported from mines, in the Chacewater area, using horse-drawn wagons, and was shipped by the ton to Swansea in South Wales for smelting. The ships would return, laden with Welsh coal. The harbour entrance was quite hazardous and tremendous skill must have been required to navigate sailing ships into the port. Some of the ships carry well over a hundred tons of ore.

The Vortex - Bodyboarder
The Vortex - Bodyboarder

The pretty, sandy beach has a stream running down to the sea on the left hand side. It is a popular family beach which, like many beaches on the north Cornish coast, is popular with surfers and in particular bodyboarders who turn up in force at high tide on big swells to surf the harbour wall, or Vortex as it is known.. The beach is cleaned daily during the season and dogs are not allowed on the beach from Easter Day to 1st October each year.

There are several shops, cafés and holiday accommodation in Portreath. The village has a very friendly atmosphere and caters for most needs of tourists, whilst not being over-commercialised.

Some of the old tram-roads, used for transporting ore from the mines, have been made into cycle paths and it possible to cycle from Portreath on the north coast to Devoran on the south coast. Details can be obtained from Tourist Information.

This is good walking country with beautiful views from the spectacular cliffs One good walk is south to Bassets Cove, about five miles there and back. Although the walk is strenuous in parts, there are lovely views, lots of wild flowers and various sea birds. North to Porthtowan is a longer walk of about eight miles there and back. The cliffs in the area are made up of slate and sandstone and are subject to erosion, so care should be taken when walking the coastal path.

There are various sports and leisure facilities within a short drive of the village. These include indoor swimming pools, squash, badminton and outdoor bowls. There are six local golf courses, one within a mile, and several centres for horse riding, two with indoor facilities.

Tehidy Country Park is about a mile and a half from Portreath, situated in a valley of one of the upper tributaries of the Red River which flows into the sea near Gwithian. It is a beautiful country park of around 250 acres. Most of the park is woodland and there are around 9 miles of nature trails. It was formerly the estate of the Bassett family who made a fortune from tin but is now owned by Cornwall County Council and is open to the public all year round. Within the park are also bridleways for horse riding and tracks for mountain bikes. There are several ponds and a lovely lake with swans and various kinds of ducks.